Crude oil seems to be not related to our life, but in fact, it does closely related to our daily life. For example, the lipsticks and footballs that we use in our daily life are made from the crude oil. Without crude oil, we will not be able to do simple thing as playing soccer or applying make-up. However, there’s about 2300 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from petroleum and liquid fuel, which is from the crude oil, in 2016 (US Energy Informative Administration, 2017). In addition, there’s some concerns about crude oil that the supplies will decrease, so the price of by-products will rise such as plastic and the health supplies and services. Nevertheless, this paper argues that the use of crude oil has more benefits than harms in our lives. Using examples of by-product of crude oil such as medicines or gasoline, it attempts to show the economic and ethical reasons why crude oil is important.
Crude oil is a mixture of hydrocarbon that formed from plants and animals that lived millions of years ago ( ). It exists in liquid form in underground pools or reservoirs, and nowadays, humans drill down through the ground which is layers of sands, rocks and silt, to reach down the rock formations that contain oil and natural gas deposits. After it’s removed from the ground, it is refined and separated into useable petroleum products such as gasoline, low-sufur distillate, jet fuel, etc. Almost all of the crude compounds consist of molecules consisting only of hydrogen and carbon atoms. People refer to these types of compounds as hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbon is emitted while combustion of crude and it is adversely affecting the environment. General Reaction Equation for crude oil is CxHy + N(O2) x(CO2) + 0.5y+(H2O) when x = number of carbon atoms in the hydrocarbon, y = number of hydrogen atoms in the hydrocarbon and N = number of oxygen atoms required in the hydrocarbon combustion reaction. (Fedchko et al, University of Calgary, Canada (2017)) There are many by-products of crude oil. Petroleum-based insulation materials are one of them. The biggest benefit of this material is the cost. It is much cheaper than the bio-based insulation materials. However, it has some detrimental effects too. According to Patricia María Pérez Tarancón, the expert of bio-based insulation, “the petroleum-based insulation itchy and carcinogenic is the formaldehyde used to bind it together”. The Man-made fibre is also by-product of crude oil, these fibre are strong and tough, but it few fibre are harmful to human body. The polyester, one of the man-made fibre, may cause even cancer, according to the EPA.
The use of crude oil product has more benefit than harm in our lives. The first factor is economic. Until the 1970s, every football were made by leather. However, by 1974, the football had a Polyurethane ,a kind of plastic which is derived from crude oil, coating that provided waterproofing as well as protection from damage (Data Research Analyst, World of Chemicals (2017)), and therefore, it was helpful to economy. The second example of economic benefits of crude oil by-product is the export of oil that made from crude oil such as Gasoline. Saudi Arabia is one of main country that exports oil, and according to The Heritage Foundation, in Saudi Arabia, oil revenues account for about 90 percent of export earnings and about 87 percent of government revenues. (https://www.heritage.org/index/country/saudiarabia) So it helps the country’s government to develop and grow. Another factor is ethical. Petroleum is widely used as an important raw material for mainly medical, transportation fuels and pharmaceuticals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals, and there are only few replacement. Transportation transfers patients, staffs and medical supplies with oil-based fuels. Without it, emergency services and supplies will be affect in time-sensitive situations. Also, Plastics and pharmaceuticals are mainly derived from petrochemical products, and the number of replacement of petroleum products is quite small. Plastics are used to prevent analgesics, antidepressants, antihyperlipidemic, antidiabetic agents, antiemetics, antihistamine and more. Approximately 3% of petroleum production is used to produce pharmaceuticals, however, about 99% of medication raw materials and reagents are made from crude oil.(Authors: Hess et al (2011) American Journal of Public Health Volume 101, No. 9. Pp. 1568-1579, ) If they suddenly stop using Crude Oil, it will have a extreme impact on the healthcare, and it will also be associated with ethical issues.
Medicine is one of by-products of crude oil. Some medicines such as analgesics or antidepressants are derived from crude oil, it uses to relive pain or alleviate depressions. Although it is actively used currently, but crude oil is a limited resource, and therefore, the oil reserve will decrease, and the cost of it will increase and it could be the economic and political problem. So they need to find alternatives before it happens. For the export of oil, as of January 2007, Saudi Arabia has proven reserves totaling 256.9 billion barrels, accounting for about 24% of world reserves. They will last for 90 years at the current production rate. 85% of the Saudi oil fields found have not yet produced oil. Finally, for the transportation, currently there are much more petroleum cars, but electricity is expected to be gradually replaced. According to National Geographic, Billions of dollars are already have been used to develop battery and hydrogen fuel cell technologies. According to federal estimates, passenger cars and light trucks account for nearly 60% of GHG emissions in the transport sector of the US economy. Electric vehicles are nearly 50% cleaner than conventional fuels, taking into account emissions from fuel production.